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March 31, 2008

Declaration of Blah Blah

Declaration of Blah Blah
by Harley

I’m in hell.

I’m facing my bête noir, that which is hanging over my head, worse than getting my teeth cleaned, worse than mucking out the rabbit cage (my 2nd grader is in Maui), worse than doing my taxes. I’m filling out a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure, Schedule of Assets & Debts and Income & Expenses Declaration, with accompanying exhibits.

Or, as I lovingly call it, the Declaration of Blah Blah.

Why am I doing it? My divorce lawyer told me to. Honestly, why not just hand me a copy of Mein Kampf and a German-English dictionary and tell me to translate it? I’ve been working on this thing (i.e., staring at it) for weeks. I’ve filled out my name and address, which leaves only nine pages to go. I’ve written novels faster than this.

Life used to be simple. I worked. I paid off my credit cards every month, paid the rent, spent what was left, saved some, gave some away. When I graduated from waitressing, I found some scary guy in NYC to do my taxes. When I moved to LA, Scary Guy was replaced by Nice Laurie. One day Nice Laurie told me to buy a house and I asked her how much to spend and she told me and I bought one. Then I got married and sold that house and my husband and I bought a house together and he did all the money stuff and Nice Laurie was replaced by Husband’s People, and for a decade I had babies and cooked stuffed calamari and grocery shopped and wrote novels and forgot what a mortgage interest rate was. I was the Cautionary Tale on the Suze Orman show. So of course I came to a Bad End, staring into the black hole of the Declaration of Blah Blah.

“I shall reinvent myself!” I cried, and signed up for a Personal Finance class at UCLA. “I’ll read stock prospectuses for entertainment, and always know the Blue Book value of my car!” But my big challenge was staying awake, even though the teacher, a Bob Marley lookalike, was a personable guy who did everything but puppet shows to illustrate his points. I learned what a poison pill is, who Freddie Mac is, and what the deal is with junk bonds, but I have to consult my notes, which are lovely, lots of doodling and possible plots for novels, alongside memos to self, such as “Uh-oh!” and “Where’s the ELECTRIC BILL!?” and “Compare your co. toothers using index.” (no idea what that means.)

But Costco is my undoing. My fatal flaw. The Declaration of Blah Blah insists I itemize expenses into groceries, clothes, gifts, eating out, but it’s all Costco! Costco! The only thing I don’t buy at Costco is my lawyer and my hair colorist and I have no receipts, only totals. So shoot me.

Here’s what else I don’t get: if a million divorces are underway this year, why is no one else whining about their Declaration of Blah Blah? Where is my tribe? My people?

Anyway, I’ve called in my brilliant friend Margaret, who’s coming over this week to wade through boxes of color-coded files (I find filing soothing) whilst I weep and eat chocolate.

BTW: my daughter has left a note on the bunny’s cage. There’s a fee schedule for holding or petting Dixie; one dollar for siblings, a nickel for parents; no charge for friends. By the time she returns from Maui, I’ll be $.90 in the hole. What budgetary category does that go into?

Happy Monday!
Harley

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Comments

Oh trust me, Harley, EVERYONE who has to fill out one of those (whatever the local equivalent is called) hates it with a passion. But to divide up the property, everyone involved has to know what the property and debt is.
I know. It still sucks. hugs...

$.90 for petting/holding rabbit…entertainment category would be my guess.

Fucking prick. Wouldn't it be easier for everyone if he just did a Silkwood, say, on Mulholland Drive?

Or is that the wrong attitude?

Josh -- so wrong and yet so right.

Harley, if you add up your credit card bills and your bank statements, you should at least be able to figure out what the total number is and work back from there. Best advice -- DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR EXPENSES. Knowing your modest self, that would be very easy to do. And god bless Margaret!

Also, certain credit cards, like Discover, will itemize a lot of bills for you. I understand Costco comes up as Costco, but you can guesstimate, right?

"I know this place pretty well. I went to law school here," Frito the lawyer as he tours Costco in 2505, from Idiocracy - greatest movie evvver

You're right - this sucks.

When is this thing due? One idea is to go to Costco and do *only* your grocery shopping on one trip. Then make another trip for some other category. If you can do it two weeks in a row, you might have something to extrapolate. I know it's a total pain in the ass, but it might help.

Hang in there - you'll make it - I mean, no one thought the bunny would last this long, right?

P.S. Josh - I'm with you.

Michele, you are so right. I look at my hair color expenses and think, "okay, if I just let my roots grow one inch/one month longer, I could save $200 a year!" and if I don't wear my glasses to look in the mirror I may not even notice. Because, you know, people are starving in China.

Is it really okay to Guesstimate? Won't someone from divorce court come and audit me?

What Kathy said.

So, then, the non-existent divorce court auditor shows up (there ain't no such critter, HJ). What does it say? It says, "Oh, dear, you've underestimated your living expenses. In the name of Truth, Justice and The Offspring, we must fix this!"

Not so much what Josh said. Maybe more of a 'Saul on the road to Tarsus' and withdrawal to a celibate monastic community, to chop wood, carry water and seek redemption.

Sorry, Harley. This sounds pretty high on the sucks scale. I can't give any useful advice, but I can give you a Bond-sister hug, if that helps.

So, first, I'm thinking that maybe you'll want to start dumping Dixie out of the cage and into a bucket so you don't cost yourself handling charges. She will think it's a great adventure!

Second, I ripped the following percentages out of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Book, which is my favorite book in the whole world after Beowulf and seriously saved our lives--I will send a free copy to anyone who wants one. (Okay. Limit 100 for legal purposes) Seriously. I will.

Charitable gifts: 10-15%
Saving: 5-10%
Housing: 25-35%
Utilities: 5-10%
Food:5-15%
Transportation: 10-15%
Clothing: 2-7%
Medical/Health: 5-10%
Personal: 5-10%
Recreation: 5-10%
Debt: 5-10%

These are all recommended percentages, of course, but I think you'd find your expenses would probably line up pretty well if you take an average month. I always go 15% on personal because a good colorist is VERY important!

Hang in there!

Harley, you get extra points for having a sense of humor about such a crummy situation. And I'm with Josh, but only on the fucking prick part.

You can do it, especially if you have a large enough supply of chocolate. If you don't account for every cent, don't fret. Just get shet of the jerk--that's worth a lot.

I am vastly impressed that you can make stuffed calamari! Wow.

P.S. I think you're "comparing your company to others', using index". Just a guess.

Those percentages look useful, thanks! I think I'll be looking for that book, Laura -- please give details for getting a copy? Doing taxes is more daunting this year -- retirement income plus small storytelling income minus business expenses related to storytelling. Maybe I need a Nice Laurie.
I believe you can take care of bunny expense by adding your own set of fees for cleaning up while she's in Maui!!!??? Just not fair!
At Costco, I don't think you'd need to make two trips for separate categories, just ask the cashier to subtotal or run the categories separately.
I can relate to the boring financial class. For one of the CLU classes when I was at Prudential, I just couldn't deal with the class (even when I bribed myself with chocolate). A colleague couldn't stand the book. We teamed up, he went to class and took notes, I read the book, and we got together at my apartment to take the practice test together. (Fellow agents made many jokes about what they thought we'd actually be doing that day, but that test was worth $$$, and we were among the few who passed, so we showed them! . . .at least that day . . .)

Harley, yes yes yes...estimate high on those expenses...don't forget to factor in inflation and the ongoing rising prices of fuel. You don't want to find yourself locked into numbers that are just a faint speck in the rearview mirror of life.

my 2 cents . . .

DO NOT forget to include ALL the stuff for the kids in the budget also. Not just the biggies for Child Care and Tuition, but extracurricular activity fees and the stuff related to the activites (uniforms, tutus, shoes, backpacks - whatever), the repeat consumables like school supplies, seasonal clothing changes, SHOES, medications and allergy shots and checkups, and camp physicals, and birthday parties and all the other stuff that you'll think of when you start adding up this list.

One thing that helped me do my Blah Blah! forms was cleaning out my purse (and the purse I carried before that one). How'd it help? I'm a receipt keeper, but not an organizer. I pulled out all the tons of receipts and read them and then marked them Home expense, Kid A expense, Kid B expense, recurring, non recurring etc. . . then I started logging the stuff on my computer (I felt more in control when I had enough stuff to type out a list. It just looked more official. And, I felt better when on the Blah Blah form I entered "See attached schedule".)

Don't run too long, cause the Ex is NOT going to volunteer much about the hidden stuff and the non-recurring expenses of running your household. (Don't forget those annual household maintenance things like heater/ac inspections and stuff.)

Sorry, It's only been a couple of years since my divorce was finalized, but it is still very fresh for me.

Good luck - you can do this!

Is Nice Laurie is still around? It sounds like you need her on your team again now.

"Is it really okay to Guesstimate? Won't someone from divorce court come and audit me?"

If it's like what we in NC call the Equitable Distribution Affidavit, then no, you won't get audited. You will be held to the figures you put down, though, so if you've got to Guesstimate, go high.

Having had the fun of helping someone fill out that form, you have my sympathies.

Ahhh Harley. This really sucks. Been a LONG time since my divorce (and we were young and had nothing to split up) but I remember all the crap. SO sorry.

Be generous in your estimates. That's important.

But I do salute your sense of humor. :-)

Ugh, Harley. I got divorced 16 years ago, I was 27 years old and, like Cyndi, we had no possessions to speak of. I still remember that horrible form. Blessings on brilliant Margaret, for her willingness to wade.

Just be better to yourself than I was - My daughter turns 19 on Wednesday, and for all that time, I only got $63 a week in child support. Now he is deigning to pay 40% of her college tuition (thank God for state schools).

Good luck, and hugs.

Mary, you (and anyone else who's interested in The Dave Ramsey Book) can email me at laura@laurabenedict.com. (If there are two people, I'll also pre-order you both copies of Harley Jane's book, A DATE YOU CAN'T REFUSE, that's coming out next January--'cause HJ's a sweetheart and I've sucked up a bunch of comment space!)

You guys are great! Yes, Nice Laurie is still around but at a different company and no longer able to do the "a la carte" services I need (she runs people's entire financial lives now) but a good friend nevertheless.

I must run out and buy that Total Money Makeover Book, Laura -- will it make me cry, like Extreme Makeover does?

I also am really loving Personal Finances for Dummies, but since I have a compulsion to read things in order, it's not altogether helpful at addressing this issue.

CRUST ALL MUDDY!!!! (Captain Space Guy version)

A BIG DAMN *RECURRING* LINE ITEM FOR RABBIT CARE AND DEFENSE!!!

Hourly rates charged, 24x7, at your SAG maximum for a one hour call!! Since, after all, he caused Dixie and the hutch to enter your life *after* his departure, so he has no reasonable expectation of free rabbit care for HIS rabbit!

Geez, Harley, I hate to sound like an echo, but think "high" when you guestimate. You should be entitled to some mental anguish dollars too, having to go through all this paperwork. That's all the advice I have except to alternate the chocolate with some cookies (fiber you know) and find Nice Laurie so Margaret can take3 a break :o)
Hang in there :o)

The thing is, you didn't ask for this. HE asked for it. This is what HE wanted not you. So why doesn't Mr. Fancypants come over and, with a supervising accountant hired by him, go through your expenses?

You can sit back and improve your inner peace by patting the bunny.

No, No, Sarah, I can't have the Fiscal Police coming over and saying, "What is this MALICE DOMESTIC thing for 2005 and 2006? And what is Romantic Times and why did you need a $60 pair of tap shoes for it and is that really a business expense? Are fairy wings necessary?" .

No, no, no, no, no, Sarah.

There is such a thing as "creative accounting," and as he is a lawyer, and one in the entertainment industry, I'm sure that he knows about that. If he and his accountant are involved, it will be like "net profits" from a movie, and Harley will end up owing him money every month. Bad idea. Now, if he would pony up to pay your own accountant, then that would be fine. Oh, perchance to dream.

I meant, an accountant of her choosing. Though if there's one appeal of divorce, it would be knowing that all spending decisions, bad and good, were my own with no one second guessing.

Bet I'm not alone in that, huh?

The blahblah sucks!
Being on SS, I didn't make so much that I HAVE to file, unless I want that wonderful stimulus check. I was doing fine till I got to the line that said 'refer to page 30 of the blahblah book' uh, they didn't send the book and there's no bank, library or any place else in this town to get one!
Don't forget to add car expenses into the mix Harley. At least $2,000 a year to cover a good set of tires and a brake job. Better raise that to include insurance and gas!

Oh, man. This is feeling like a cautionary tale. And I am trying to avoid the lesson. I too stay home with the kids and tend to avoid a lot of the nitty gritty tax type stuff. I pay the bills, which helps, I suppose. My husband is a recovering attorney and it does feel like the lawyer types have a distinct advantage.

The only advice that I can give, falls in line with over estimate, don't cheap out on yourself or the kids. My parents divorced when I was a sophomore in college. The next year when I moved into an apartment on campus, I was directed to give my dad a number to live off of. Little did I know of reality, so I was way too conservative and was really hurting financially since he chose not to adjust my living expenses. (Ironically, he is thinking really hard about moving here for assisted living.. ugh). For some sad reason, it seems when some men divorce a woman, they try to divorce their kids (or stick it to the kids, like my dad). I hope that your ex is more gracious than my father was, but aim high, because you don't want to renegotiate or live too lean. Ultimately his choice should not be a financial punishment or burden to you or the kids.

I am sorry that you have to go through this. It is truly shitty and not how you envisioned life at this stage.

Harley, I send out hugs too. I can't help you with the blah blah since I've never had to do one (one of the benefits of getting married in my thirties...I did live with a guy but we never married & parted amicably). If you haven't already thought of this, remember to tally up the cost of running your business...printer paper & ink, computer maintenance. What about maintenance on other big appliances (I just had a dryer repair person in last week...$50 for the visit alone), and your floors (i.e. Stanley Steemer or wood refinishers).

For the lawyers out there, what about upkeep on the house like painting or roof repair, etc? Also do holiday gifts and extra preparations count?

And Laura, I'm emailing you about that book! Thanks for the offer.

Oh yeah, don't forget yard maintenance. We just spent $140 on mulch delivery plus we'll spend money on fertilizer, lime, weed killer, plants, bulbs, etc. sometime this year...and gas for the mower.

How much do I love that Cheryl's husband is a "recovering attorney"?!?

Harley, hugs from here, too. And honestly, if growing your roots out to the specified amount would only save $200/year, you're being far less than excessive in your colorist expenses!

Another approach to the Costco thing would be to do your regular shopping for a couple of months and save the receipts; that would probably give you a good ballpark.

I'll be sending lots of virtual chocolate and tissues your way . . .

I have Personal Finance for Dummies...have never read it. And need to.

Lots & lots of hugs your way Harley. I know it isn't easy. Stupid me felt sorry for one of my best friends husbands (they never should have married in the first place, but he sounded so pitiful on the phone) and the bastard supoenaed me to testify for him at the hearing. Big mistake....his lawyer realized right away that wasn't going to work out good for him so I didn't have to testify. I just sat with my girlfriend's family and had a great time watching him get raked over the coals. The bastard!

I have been advising my daughter that she should be involved in all decision making processes of money management (if the relationship with the boyfriend of 3 months goes full cycle-she has already told me she "knows he is THE ONE". Oh, God help me). That way no surprises crop up and you can see just how much money gets spent. I have also told her to take a personal finance class while she gets free tuition so she can learn more than her parents know.

Gosh, I am so glad that I haven't gone through that! Hopefully I won't ever have to.

Sarah, you are so right about the decision thing. My first husband was such a poor money manager, and gave me a pitiful "allowance" to live off of. Ha. That was 35 years ago, and in my current marriage (26 years) I am the one who manages the money. The first, "practice" marriage was a very painful lesson in why you don't relinquish control.

My mother went through exactly the same thing, except that her husband died. Afterwards, she had a lot to learn, and spent money like a drunken sailor for a while, but now she's doing very well, thank you.

Harley, I applaud your instincts to learn as much as you can. Keep reading, it will sink in eventually.

Harley, what can I say. I'm in the exact same spot and will be completing my blah, blah, blah statement tomorrow. The good thing is, I've had control over the money and the financial decisions since the start and am leaving him in a better financial position than when we met. The downside? I've been told that a woman's discretionary income goes down by 70% after a divorce and a man's goes up by the same amount.

Moral to this story? Follow all the sage advice above (I WILL!), estimate high. Hey remember to put in there the co-pays for doctor/dentist/et all. visits! Those can add up over a month too!

Keep breathing, have a glass of wine at 5 on the dot. Better yet, it's 5 o'clock somewhere, start now. By glass number 2 or 3 you will have creative guesstimates and will be feeling no pain.

Does Costco keep a record of purchases by member number?


"Does Costco keep a record of purchases by member number?"

Yes, they do, because I return stuff all the time without a receipt -- they just look up my info from the card. I'm sure they could print you out an itemized record.

Best of luck.

Harley - my sympathies. The only thing worse would be if the asshole decides he wants an annulment - talk about paper work and questions that make you want to commit multiple murders!

Bea had a great idea - I'll bet they do keep records at Costco.

Or - and I know this is a real pain in the ass, but if you have a couple of receipts, you could go through them manually and it'll give you a good estimate.

One thing not to forget - gifts - at your kids' ages, there are freaking birthday parties and first communions and whatever else every time you turn around. That can really add up.

Also - donations to school, or wherever, are a legit part of your budget. So are pet supplies (vet, food, shots, whatever). I think someone already mentioned maintenance - that includes lawn stuff, pest control, all that stuff.

Good luck. As bad as it is, though, the end will be totally worth it - that 2000 pound jagoff you've been saddled with for the last X number of years will finally be gone and you will be Free!

Earlier someone had mentioned shopping for a few weeks and keeping really detailed records. If this is a viable option, I would suggest skipping Costco and going to a more expensive retail option. It's the same stuff, but you will create a built in cushion. Then, you go back to your regular, more thrifty ways at Costco.

Also, the divorce should never be seen as some kind of punishment for you. You should not do penance by skimping on personal grooming (roots), fitness and sanity (yoga class) or any other things. His "freedom" or "new lifestyle" should be at his expense, not yours. Wow, I am sounding shrill!

I also second the motion on co-pays, my friend's ex stiffs her on petty things like the kids glasses and then acts all magnanimous when he does pay for something. Possibly talk to some mom's in your community about new expenses that older kids acquire. For example, my 6 year old just started violin, there's another $120 a month that I would not have anticipated. Even better, seek out some divorced women in your community. They may have some great insights.

Cheryl, shrill, maybe, but certainly right on the money. Harley, follow all the fabulous advice you are getting. Make sure you and your children are not paying the price for his new, unencumbered lifestyle. Visitation rights don't even begin to carry the same benefits or obligations of the custodial parent and, as you are finding and will continue to find, those benefits and obligations continue to grow. But the benefits you gain having your children with you daily will certainly far outweigh his new life. Remember, living well is the best revenge of all.

Boy, am I feeling the hugs!

I was out for 3 hours because the floors are being sanded and refinished so we can put the house on the market (a blog for another Monday) and the dogs and I had to vamoose. Just came back to check on the blog.

Okay, I actually DID write down everything for 4 months, and have lots of records from all of last year (I keep really good records) but there is still a lot that doesn't reconcile with anything else, AND there is still the Costco Effect (I sadly just entered "Costco" like that would suffice), but what the heck, at some point I just write down a number and move on. Very good advice about not minimizing expenses, which I constantly want to do. I'm in denial about how much life costs.

I LOVE Cheryl's advice.

For the next couple of weeks, do your grocery shopping at Whole Foods or somewhere.

Buy health and beauty and personal stuff at another store - I mean, you don't need to go to Neiman Marcus, but go somewhere that is not a discount place like Costco.

Ditto for everything else - buy clothes and gifts at a department store.

The extra effort will be worth it. There's some great advice here today!

+1 for everyone saying, "Don't economize, build in some cushions."

You have to live with and by this document, so be sure it's upholstered for good living.

How many Ipods, cds, sweaters, jackets, and other items can a 13 year old child lose in just a few months? A ton of them! Go check out prices for all those easily lost items. Sooner or later they will have to be replaced and I'm betting he's not going to want to spring for them.

Hugs from this end.

Some more down-the-road expenses to consider: Braces..for each kid potentially. Both my kids needed them. My son's braces cost about $5000 or more. It's probably more in your area. Also if they get on sports teams you'll be doing a lot of driving, so don't forget to add that gas, wear & tear on the car, plus quick meals on the run. I know we all say we'll want to bring sandwiches, but honestly, it doesn't always happen. What about yearly vacations or babysitting & childcare expenses if you're away? Or even tutors, for that matter. We needed some for math & SAT prep. Also don't forget to factor in an increase in your utility gas & electric bills as price of fuel rises.

And I hope your house sells quickly for big bucks!

I shudder to think the day is coming when all 3 of my kids will insist they need their own computers for homework.

Well, Harley, just another thing to add to the technology thing...3 laptops at the future market price!

Harley, learn this phrase now and repeat it to the kids when they want something;
"I don't have the money, you'll have to ask your Dad"
I never had to say anything bad against him, they found out on their own what an asshole he was!

The nice thing is, their dad loves them and takes them to Hawaii. And they'll figure out fast that being a lawyer means a steadier source of income than being a Creative Person. On the other hand, while their father was going to law school, I was at the School of the Arts at NYU, learning tricks on the trapeze. That's gotta count for something. I can juggle, for God's sake. AND walk on a tightrope. Do they teach THAT in Torts?

Okay, back to the blah blah.

Cheryl, I do like the way you think, and you didn't sound shrill to me, just adamant about fairness. Does the rat know enough about household affairs to know that you usually shop at Costco?? If not, you could probably pull it off, and if you aren't being required to bring real receipts, you can just total what it would cost at those other stores.
My divorce was so long ago, and we had so little, that there was no real paperwork involved; we just took turns claiming items we wanted, one for you, one for me. We even shared a lawyer -- only had a lawyer to make sure all the i's were dotted and t's crossed properly. We also postponed our court date to give him time to sign on to U of MN health insurance (we Prudential agents think of anything). The judge started questioning my refusal of alimony (so I made an appointment to talk with him about HIS insurance needs) -- I was afraid he would ask too many questions and realize that my husband, a student, was probably the one who should be asking for support. Whew, dodged that bullet . . .

Do you get more money if you juggle while you're ON the trapeze?

(I sadly just entered "Costco" like that would suffice),
Maybe it SHOULD suffice, with a "see attached" for each category that it fulfills. Of course, I still think there's merit in running the numbers as if you weren't going to the extra trouble of finding things in the humongous warehouse. The one time I went to Costco, I was so intimidated by the size of the place that I couldn't bring myself to go back.

Maybe I have been around too many lawyers (and many unhappy ones at that), but I am very impressed by your circus abilities. In St. Louis there is even a circus school, which is a ton of fun. St. Louis also has a pretty groovy burlesque scene, where circus aptitude is paired with pasties. This is a total aside, but it is the end of the day, check out "Cowboy Cabaret" on You Tube. It is a local burlesque review. We went last night and it was a riot. Two great acts are Gravity Plays Favorites (pole acrobats) and Fire Flies (acro yoga), talk about strength, flexability and real women. I have been taking classes from members of both of the acts and it is a real rush.

Make that Fly Girls, not Fire Flies

Coincidentally, there is an article on how much it costs to raise a child on Yahoo right now:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/milliondollarbabies;_ylt=AmmRVuPlkll5WW8FjDgGNJOs0NUE

Some additional ideas maybe, Harley.

Mary, another "twin" thing--getting divorced early in life! (cue the Twilight Zone music)

Karen, I am in fact raising the children on Yahoo. And Google and Nintendo and iPods and hip hop. And I'm scared to look at what it costs. But I will.

Oops. Bad editor.

Karen, just don't follow me into the world of allergies -- that's too spooky even for Twilight Zone.
And there's another thing -- both Twilight Zone fans! I once had 16 stitches on my hand (sledding accident), but what bothered me most was missing TZ. I shared the "To Serve Man" episode with most of my classes (it did have literary merit: irony, foreshadowing, parallels -- I can make nearly anything work for an English lesson).

Mary! "To Serve Man" used to give me terrible nightmares as a child. Even worse than William Shatner seeing the gremlin on the wing of the plane. My big brothers used to go outside, look in the window at me and make the gremlin face. Torture.

Twilight Zone episodes deserve a blog of their own.

I'll be there for that blog. Part of our class discussion would begin when someone called the aliens cannibals and then discuss the parallels between their "gifts" and the care a rancher would give his animals.
I was on a flight once when someone (maybe me) mentioned the gremlin on the wing episode and the "Third Rock" take-off of it (I think we were in the row with the view of the wing), when someone else pleaded with us not to talk about it. We were nicer than your brothers and changed the subject.
My brothers couldn't scare me, they just toughened me up for teaching high school -- and for a former dentist who sang the dentist song from "Little Shop of Horrors" as he drilled for a filling.

One more -- on NCL Hawaii cruise, I told the assistant food manager, who kept offering more and more food, that she reminded me of "To Serve Man." "Eat, Mr. Chambers, we wouldn't want you to lose weight."
Dah, dah, dah, dah . . . .

Mary! I've always wanted a dentist who could do the Little Shop of Horrors routine! Oh, lucky you!

It was an unusual opportunity. He was a fill-in for the original dentist in that practice, which now has it's third dentist (same support staff, though), so I wouldn't know where to find him. I suppose you could bring a CD and train your own singing dentist.

It just occurred to me that the dentist singing "LSofH" would make an interesting plot point. The idea is up for grabs -- help yourself!

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